TEL: 0203 880 8585


Linen-wearing Fashionistas, Epicureans and Historians

PRICE: Punchy but doesn’t blow the budget

RATING: Wow factor

If romance for you is all about being up close to nature, Ulagalla, in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, will quickly have your heart missing a beat as you encounter monkeys, peacocks and lumbering elephants while wandering hand-in-hand through glorious acres.

It’s worth the long car ride, seemingly to the middle of nowhere, just to see the villages and rural communities that have been largely untouched by the modern world.


And when you eventually arrive, the welcome ceremony will be a talking point for days!

The concept is brilliant in its simplicity: each of the ecologically constructed chalets, or villas, here, individually set out across 58 paradisiacal acres, is designed to be a mini-palace. But forget dripping chandeliers and gold taps. Instead, think space, privacy and huge glass walls to enjoy the abundant nature.

The villas are large and start at a size of 850 square feet, each with separate bedroom with four-poster bed and a living area. And what’s more, each chalet comes with its own plunge pool and his-and-hers bikes for gently cycling to breakfast and the pool area.

The main building is a 150-year-old wallawwa (or manor house), the ancestral home of local nobility. Today it has been opened up, furnished with antique cane chaises and planters chairs and liberally scattered with Sri Lankan cotton cushions. The reception, bar and restaurant are all conveniently placed here overlooking the pool and the paddy fields beyond.

Ulagalla is a truly exceptional property that delivers at every turn and will even make you feel virtuous for choosing it as your luxury crash pad, due to its determined efforts on sustainability, with more than half of the power for the hotel provided by its own solar farm. And perhaps the best part, is the early morning nature walks with the resident ornithologists. This is a bird watchers paradise, with over 99 different species living amongst the lakes, wetlands, grasslands and forests.

Ulagalla has been rightly lauded as one of the finest boutique hotels in Sri Lanka. Their website boasts: ‘The lush environment, stunning landscaping, as well as the exquisite attention to the comfort of guests makes for an unforgettably luxurious experience amidst a green oasis.’ We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.

Yonder Insight

OMG get up at 6am? Yes, if you want to sample the private early morning bird walks. And it’s so worth the effort. The mist rising over the various tanks (pools) that surround the hotel is a scene made for Instagram. Make sure you book with reception at least a day before.

On your doorstep

The hotel has its own stables. These are some seriously pampered horses who are only too willing to provide a different perspective as you canter around the local villages.

Thoughts on a postcard

When the welcome ceremony started, we didn't have a clue what to expect but the beating of the gong and the lighting of candles was a fantastic experience.

Thoughts on a postcard

When the welcome ceremony started, we didn't have a clue what to expect but the beating of the gong and the lighting of candles was a fantastic experience.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday

Speak to one of our expert Escapologists who can help guide and give you the inside track

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Ulagalla: the map

Alternative accommodation in Cultural Triangle

Vil Uyana

In the shadow of Sigiriya Rock, and described by Harper’s Bazaar as Sri Lanka’s best eco luxury hotel. Water, marsh, garden, paddy and forest room locations, some with private plunge pools. Thatched roofs, bamboo and teak effortlessly combine with modern comforts.

The Mud House

Top experiential hotel deep in rural SL, surrounded by lakes and untouched nature. Ornithologist’s paradise. Rooms are open-sided huts with mosquito nets and charming outdoor bathrooms. Organic food cooked over open fire in clay pots.

Cinnamon Lodge

Spread across 37 acres, home to 138 species of birds, two species of primates and 2,000 trees, this hotel is modelled on an ancient royal palace. Liberal use of ebony wood in large bungalow style rooms looking onto verdant gardens.